Marshal Ryans and the Wayward Waif


delia2_icon.gif ryans4_icon.gif

Scene Title Marshal Ryans and the Wayward Waif
Synopsis Ben finally catches up to Delia, or maybe she catches up to him.
Date December 1, 2010

The Borderlands

In a land shrouded in darkness, a place where the only light is shed by a pale silver moon, the ghosts of those who have been slain rise from the dust of Nothing. It's the day of the Blatherdictum, the day where the half-men of Might Be reclaim their lost bodies and souls, reinventing themselves into their new lot. Those who have done good are awarded another piece of a soul gone bad, those who have not, they suffer the penalty of losing what little they have. But those who have not have their own secrets and though they suffer the penalty they always seem to get stronger.

Marshal Benjamin Ryans remembers the shattered land from whence they came, though the visit was less than fruitful in that he didn't find his daughter, he gained something of an ally. Or so he hopes. Along the border he can hear the cackle of the half-men, those coyotes and wolves turned to jackels and hyenas, stronger and more dangerous and on the wind of their voices the song of a single soul.

Off key and out of time, the cry of the dying of light is something no man wants to hear. Ryans knows the secrets of the half-men, those shattered glass mirrors and mocking half truths only hide the true nature of their beastly selves. A place where if you stay too long, you become lost forever, a victim to the tearing of essence.

And it's the very place the Marshall wants to return too.

He rides along that border where the dry grasses turn to blades of glass, reaching into that shining land and trying to find purchase on the inhospitable surface. Reluctance keeps him from letting the sure footed mare from stepping across. Sitting straight in the saddle, his grim features are shadowed under the brim of his dusty white cowboy hat and his eyes scan the glossy lands beyond.

The dark haired mare, with her glossy black mane, tosses her head in irritation, sensing her riders own. "Shh shh." Benjamin leans forward to give a gentle pat, the mare's skin twitches under his hand. "We'll go soon enough, place makes me uneasy, I'd rather not rush it." It may seem silly that the old man is talking to the horse, but the effects his rumbling voice has on the horse is apparent, as she seems to settle.

From behind a rather large shard a bone white mask with long tendrils of red hair clinging to its surface peers. It is her first duty to protect their celebration from the Marshal, the man who would put them too down in numbers. The eyes behind it are blue, much like those of the man himself. She was the firstborn of the Blatherdictum, special in a way, the little wire tiara tangled in the mess of hair declares it.

She had been warned, told to stay away from Ryans, that he would kill her just as soon as look at her. The laughing half-men made no sense as they licked her wounds clean and repaired her damage. Protect them on this, the most holy of days and she would be rewarded with a piece of soul her very own.

Clothed in a blood stained and torn, white cotton dress, the youngest of the half-men pulls the fur pack from her back and reaches in with one hand. From its depths the first to be called forth is her sword, the broken blade of the King of the Marshal's land.

As if sensing danger nearby the mare gives another toss of her head, neck arched in a rather regal way and shod hooves prancing sideways in a sort of nervous dance. The Marshall is forced to try and calm her, making soft noises of reassurance even as his eyes search for the danger.

Its the flash of a blade, a movement in the darkness that catches the moons light, that gives away a person… or things position. The Marshall goes still, except of that hand that brushes at the midnight dark neck of his trust mount.

He knows he can't sit there forever, so he straightens slowly in his saddle, tall and imposing, but letting both hands rest on the saddle horn, one on top of the other in a relaxed manner. "Come out." His voice is loud, bouncing off the glass before him. "I know you're out there, show yourself."

"Sssstow yourrrrr weaponnnn," the forced whisper echoes out from the glass shards. While she can't remember ever speaking that way, it's how the others talk. Adaption is the key to all. Find the best vein, slip inside, be invisible… failing invisibility, part of the norm.

Using the shards themselves as eyes, the two pinpoints of blue peer suspiciously at the Marshal. She heard about the killings, they happened two days after she was born. Created. Reaching into her pack again, she pulls out one more item. This time rather than a weapon it's a jewel. A ruby that fills her palm and spreads its glowing light all around painting their surroundings the color of blood.


It may or may not be surprising when that word is uttered by the Marshal. His attention is still in her direction, she can almost feel his observant gaze on her, but still he is still fairly relaxed in his pose. "It's in it's holster and as long as you don't give me no reason to use it… it'll keep just fine there."

His face doesn't show his emotions, but his voice is calm and rumbles like a big cat would purr. "Do I have cause to draw iron?" Benjamin asks with a slight quirk of his eyebrow.

With a slight pull of the reins to one side, Ryans manages to get the mare to turn, though he doesn't urge her into the mirrored lands of Might Be. Not yet.

The skull of a lion cub peeks out from its hiding place. Framed by crimson read hair and ringed around its blue eyes and lips with painted smudges of black, the half-man creeps from its hiding place. Rather, it seems to be a half-woman. In one hand she carries a jeweled sword that is as broken as she is, the blade snapped off in the middle. The other hand holds a gem the size of a heart that emits a soft glowing light the color of her hair.

Her size, shape, stature, they all seem too real, too familiar, like the child he lost so long ago that he can barely remember the day he first ventured into the cave… sometimes. In a place where time has no meaning; everything happens all at once, in the future, and a million years ago when he might have been riding a dinosaur… But it seems like only seconds have passed since the green monster was traded in for the powerful black steed and Poncho left his side to continue his search for the missing girl.

The one resembling the thing standing before him right now.

The sight of the half formed figure, Ryans doesn't really react at first, beyond just sitting there staring at her. The black mare backs up with a few jerky steps, hooves dragging a little in the dust, but her rider doesn't stop her. If he had been on his feet, the old man would have done the same.

"You mock me." The words are icy and hard, lacking all emotion and very dangerous.

"Half formed. Souless," he hisses out viciously, he kicks the horse forward. "You mock me. Mock what I have lost!" His words get louder as each one passes his lips. An accusing finger is pointed at her, as he shouts, "You have no right to look like her."

He looks passed her to the mirrored land, standing in his stirrups as he vents the anger that this half made figure brought. "First you lead me down a road of false hope," he shouts out as if the creatures beyond can hear him, suspecting them to be hiding away and snicking their evil hyena laugh. "Then you send this?" A sweeping gesture motions to the creature before him.

Hard blue eyes as blue as her own, glare down at her as the Marshal growls out, "I should shoot you for mocking the memory of my missing daughter."

A wind that howls with laughter is the reply to the Marshal's laments. Mocking him like birds, they echo his sorrow. Faceless tormenters in an endless night, all but one; the blue eyed creature in front of him. Bloodied and dirty, bruised and broken, the figure simply stares at him as the gem pulses in her hand. Like a heartbeat.

"Yyyooouuu wissshhed for thisssss." The hoarse whisper is forced, seeming as false as the hope he was delivered before. In response to the threat of a bullet, the half-woman crouches into a defensive stance, holding the broken sword over her head like a scorpion's tail. "Doooo yyyour worrrrssst."

The squealing laughter of a child is carried through the air, a memory of too long ago, just as Ryans eyes the bare feet of the thing in front of him. A small scar on the right big toe. Formed from a scab picked too often after a bad scrape on the cement bottom of a pool.

The silver six shooter is already in his hands and aimed right at the figure — he doesn't remember even reaching for it — even as those cruel words whisper in his ear and the realization of what this is sinks in. Blue eyes widen with it.

It sinks in deep.

Yet he can only stare at that lion skulled figure, the gun visible drooping in his hands, the barrel slowly lowering to point towards the ground. Duster clad shoulder slump visibly and his face seems to fall into a sort of despair.

A mockery would not be so exact… would it?

The silver gun falls to the ground, kicking up dust and it makes an audible thump, as the shock seems to filter through the old man. Swinging off the horse, his boots barely miss the gun as he lands on his feet, his blue eyes still on the half formed.

"I never asked for this!" Ryans calls out to those hissing voice, taking a step forward towards what remains of his daughter, hands lifting to reach out to her, "I wanted her whole! Not hollowed out and made into something else."

As the man clasps the masked thing's shoulders, the ruby in her palm flashes a bright red, blinding both of them for a matter of minutes. When his eyesight finally clears, he is still in the same place with the horse behind him. In front of him is the creature without a mask, her hollow features looking weary for lack of sleep.

"Daddy?" Her voice croaks from lack of use, sounding thick and off. She falls forward into his arms, encirling his back with hers. The ruby's light fades a little, its task finished for now though the core of the gemstone still holds the warm glow. "Daddy, I'm so tired…"

In the distance, the laughter and jeers have turned to cries of rage. The hollow men from Might Be furious as their prize is stolen from them. From the shadows, they begin cropping up and lurking forward, intent on taking back the soul they had laid claim to.

His wayward daughter finds herself pulled into a tight embrace as she falls, there is even a choked sound in the back of the Marshal's throat. "Oh thank heaven." It's probably the most emotion the old man has shown in a long time, pressing a kiss to the top of Delia's head as he manages to hold her up.

It's a short lived relief, cold dread replacing it as he spots them beyond the curled red strands of hair that cover her head. Ryans' voice falls into a calm, as he murmurs next to her ear, "I know you are, sweetie, but I need to awake for now." already he's backing away, half dragging her with him to the mares side.

The black mare doesn't move, but she tossed her head and cries out her fear, hooves pawing at the dusty ground as if saying 'Hurry up! Hurry up!' Which is what the Marshal does, scooping up his youngest and starting to help her to sit atop the mare, who looks about ready to bolt. "I need you to hold on Delia, hold on tight."

As the two make their hurried way back tot he horse, jagged shards of obsidian pelt at them, cutting into exposed flesh, not so much on Ryans but the unprotected Delia. An already bloody dress begins sprouting new crimson flowers as the blood quickly spreads. She doesn't cry out or fuss, she's much too tired to do anything but lean heavily against her father. His words are lost on her, simply because she doesn't have the strength to heed them.

Howls and snarls of rage follow them as the horse rears up, pawing at the air before wheeling around to expose her backside. For now, the young woman is safe from the throng of projectiles being hurled their way. A bola snags into the horse's tail, only to be flicked off by a powerful swish. The bits of volcanic glass bounce off the horse's thick hide, and the duster worn by the man, littering the ground with pellets.

"Daddy, please don't wake up… I can't hold on…" Already his awareness has cut her time with him short, too short. Unlike her mentor, she's unable to stay.

Unable to get her on the horse, Ryans is forced to just hold her with back turned to the monsters so that she's hit with fewer objects. "I really wish I could tell you I won't." Unfortunately, it's all he can give her as an answer, along with, "I'll stay as long as I can."

"I'll do as best I can, Lia." He murmurs, risking a glance over his shoulder and over the back of the horse. Then something occurs to him and he starts shucking his coat off one arm at a time so that he can hold on to her with the other. "Where is Hokuto when you need her," he hisses viciously, clearly the irritation isn't aimed at her.

It's not easy, but the old man works the coat only Delia, oversized or not, it'll protect her from too much more. He'll deal with the cuts for her sake.

The bites at his shoulders and back feel as cold as ice, that chill spreading quickly throughout his body. With the thick material of the duster gone, he swiftly succumbs to the aches and pains bombarded onto him by the half men. Already his world is fading, giving him release from more of the abuse. Unfortunately, this relief only lends itself to the fact that he's leaving his daughter to fend for herself in this harsh terrain. Alone with the beasts who would so gladly take her back with them and leave him wondering once again.

Falling to his knees, he reaches up a single hand that clings to the coat. A sanguine handprint to match the happy floral pattern of blood blossoms on her dress. "I love you Daddy," she murmurs as her body pales and begins to fade. When nothing remains but the last semblance of her russet tresses and the glow of piercing blue eyes, he fades into the discomfort of pitch. A cold place that should be temperate, a place where he should be safe, except those obsidian shards keep him frigid.

Ryans' eyes fly open to the darkness of his room. His breath is heavy and visible in puffy clouds. The icy air claws at his bare chest, puckering his skin to gooseflesh. His wool blanket has been thrown off long enough for him to feel the nips of the freezing temperature. Pushing himself to a seated position, he rubs both hands against his face and scratches through his beard. It was Delia, the rumors are true.

She's back.

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